Colin Sorensen

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The Independent Online

May I add a few comments to John Earl's excellent obituary [11 August], which captured exactly the essence of Colin Sorensen's outstanding work and character? writes Professor Peter Green.

Many colleges owed Colin a great debt, none more that the former Hornsey College of Art – which was subsequently merged into Middlesex University. Shortly after leaving the Royal College of Art in 1957 Sorensen had taught illustration as a part-time tutor at the Hornsey College of Art. He inspired students with his knowledge and enthusiasm for the theatre, cinema and all things connected with London life. More importantly, some years later, when he had left the college, he was instrumental in helping to launch the Silver Studio Collections; a priceless archive of the London Design Studio headed by Rex Silver which had been bequeathed to Hornsey in 1967.

Sorensen, with typical generosity, arranged for the collection to be exhibited at the Museum of London in 1980. This exhibition finally established the collection as a major design archive and last year, thanks again to his support and enthusiasm, the collection found a permanent home as the basis for the new Museum of Domestic Architecture and Design at Middlesex University's Cat Hill site in Barnet, Hertfordshire. The university awarded Colin an honorary degree in recognition of his work and commitment not only to the Silver Studio Collection but to his life long scholarship and promotion of the study of domestic design and architecture.

One lasting memory of mine is of a very cold evening at Wilton's music hall in the East End before the theatre had any heating or proper seating. Colin lectured, without appearing even to pause for breath, for something approaching two and a half hours. Even the many elderly and distinguished figures in the audience stayed for "further questions" and one suspects that if it had not been dark and late we would all have been taken on one of his special local "fieldwork" walks.

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